I’ve been a C.S. Lewis fan for decades. I, like most kids, started out reading The Chronicles of Narnia, and when I reread the books to my own kids a couple years ago, I realized how much of my faith life was formed by those books–especially by The Last Battle. In some ways, the final book in the series is odd and different from the others…but it’s the one whose theology messages stuck with me through thirty years of growth and discovery.

Several times in that book, one or another of the characters points out that Aslan “is not a tame lion.” Keeping in mind that Aslan is the Christ figure, really let that sink in. Jesus is not tame. Jesus is not civilized. Jesus is not cultured. Jesus is not predictable.

My husband recently read On Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterston, an author that Lewis read and admired, and we could see Chesterton’s influence in those beloved passages from The Last Battle. Chesterton points out that Jesus is not a safe God to follow–He’s dangerous. He isn’t full of pretty philosophy–He’s full of violent contradictions.

The Man who overturns tables in the temple and then draws a child onto His lap. The One who instructs His followers to strap a sword to their side, but tells them to turn the other cheek. The Eternal One who chose to take on flesh and let himself be killed. Killed. Think about that for a second–an eternal being, suffering a very human death.

As my husband chatted through the Chesterton book with his friends in their book club, they dwelled a good bit on the kind of faith this sort of untamed God demands of us. The answer is pretty obvious, is a way: an untamed faith.

But what does that mean?

It means that we don’t just accept these seeming contradictions in Jesus, we embrace them. It means we don’t just say that He’s the God of the impossible, we prepare ourselves to live the impossible. It means we don’t just come expecting that the Spirit will move, we come KNOWING that Jesus is there with us.

It means embracing the hard-to-believe. It means clinging to the illogical. It means walking out the incredible.

So many teachings of Christ, many of which we learn to recite without really pondering the depths, are hard. They don’t make sense. The “bread of life” discourse in John 6 is a perfect example. Jesus told the crowds they would have to eat his flesh and drink his blood–and they FREAKED OUT. Said, “You’re speaking symbolically, right? RIGHT?” But He was very clear. So clear that most of His followers left Him.

It was too hard. Too illogical.

In the early church, heretic after heretic had to be rooted out and dismissed, because they were trying to make Jesus fit their human understanding. He couldn’t have been both fully God and fully man–it makes no sense! He must have not really been physical…or, if physical, not really God…

Nope. That doesn’t fly either.

Faith in Christ–true faith, the kind He will recognize–is crazy. It’s wild. It’s nonsensical. Illogical. It’s dangerous. It’s fantastical. It is completely untamed and untamable.

And that’s the point. Lions are not tame. The one that lies down with the lamb–it’s a wild, dangerous beast. The God who fashioned the universe cannot be put into our human boxes of understanding. He will break free, burst through, tear those walls to pieces.

There are those who do not believe miracles happen after the age of the disciples–but when, then, did God become tame? How is that not changing His nature, to claim it?

Most Christians I know say miracles do happen, of course…but many times we name small things, everyday things. I always shook my head at that, but you know what?

A miracle that happens every day is even more amazing than a once-in-history kind, isn’t it? What’s more amazing–that God parted the Red Sea once, or that He dwelled with the Israelites in fire and cloud and provided daily manna for forty years? That Jesus died once and rose from the dead, or that He promised to be present in the bread and wine every time we partake of it?

He is a wild, unpredictable, huge, dependable, consistent God. All those things, even when they contradict. He is a God that calls us to believe what we don’t know how to believe. To walk when we cannot see. To cling to the hand we cannot touch. And to do it, knowing He will always be there with us.

What can we do but cry out like the father in the Gospels, “Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief!”

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